South Orangetown Central School District

South Orangetown Middle School eighth-grader Emily Budway wrote, produced, cast and directed an original play and held a performance in the SOMS auditorium on June 3! 

“The cast for the school’s spring musical was small and after the cast list was posted, I decided to try to create an opportunity that would allow more people to be involved. I chose to do a play so that students who were interested in performing, but not in singing and dancing, could participate. I’d never written a play before but it’s something I have always been interested in. And I want to become a director one day,” Emily explained. 

To put her plan into action, Emily collected a petition with 150 student signatures which she presented to SOMS Principal Chad Corey, Ed.D. and Assistant Principal Danielle Rodriguez, Ed.D. “Emily scheduled a meeting with us and was incredibly prepared. Once we gave permission to move forward, she kept us informed about how her project was progressing,” Rodriguez said. “Emily showed true leadership and initiative throughout this process. She saw a way to involve more students in an extracurricular activity and did everything in her power to make her idea a reality. My hope is that Emily inspires more students to come forward with activities and initiatives they would like to see at SOMS!”

 Emily drafted her Greek mythology-inspired play, “The Theft of Fire,” in just three weeks, held auditions and selected a cast of 30 students. With the help of the TZHS Drama Club, Emily borrowed costumes and high school crew members volunteered to help with lighting. After a month of rehearsals, Emily and her fellow cast members worked to promote the production within the school by putting up posters and telling their classmates about the play. 

 On the evening of June 3, more than 150 attendees turned out to see the debut of “The Theft of Fire” at SOMS. “It’s really exciting to be able to create something that you really care about and see it all come together,” said Emily. “Even though I will be graduating and moving on to high school, I want this to continue to grow and to become an actual drama club at SOMS. I would love to come back next year and help facilitate a new original student production.”

Emily Budway SOMS